World's Tallest Maple Discovery of 2012
1st measurement 157.80 ft. | 48.09 m. tall - 2nd measurement 11/2014 was 160.43 ft.
Acer Macrophyllum ... "Humboldt Honey"
Copyright 2012 -2017 by M. D. Vaden
July 19, 2012, I spotted a tall Bigleaf Maple in the Coast Redwood forest near Avenue of the Giants of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. A quick hand-held laser measurement implied a possible new world record height for Acer. Acer is the genus name for maples.
October 2012. I returned for a more accurate measurement using an Impulse 200LR laser rangefinder mounted on a tripod. The measurement was 157.80 feet for height. The trunk circumference was 9.50 ft..
A new world record for maples. The Maple was named "Humboldt Honey"
That established Humboldt Honey as the tallest known of the Acer (maple) genus in the United States, and apparently in the world.
Washington had one reported around 160 ft. once, but reliable sources say it was closer to 148 ft..
The tallest maple in the east USA was a red maple measured at 143.6 ft. (2007) by Will Blozan & Jeff Riddle. That one was in the Great Smokey Mountains.
More discoveries should be out there for the finding. And I hope other people can find a few more this height or even taller. I suspect maples this tall will be in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, or possibly Washington's Olympic National Forest. February 2017, someone reported a 165 ft. bigleaf maple near Corvallis, but no specifics about the mearuing like whether a tripod was used, etc., or a second person helped.
Prairie Creek may hold a hidden surprise, and I've seen a few scatttered maples in hidden pockets distant from trails. But most of those were under 100 feet tall.
Humboldt Honey is actually taller than 160.43 ft. That's just the tallest top I've been able to get the laser to reach through branches and foliage. The day I found it, there were leaves on it blocking aim a lot. The repeat measure was after the leaves dropped, but there are so many twigs and branches of it's own and taller surrounding redwoods, I haven't been able to get up through to the highest point. It's not like measuing tallest redwoods among tall redwoods where the tallest redwood towers above the rest. It looks like there's enough up top for another 7 ft., but the most I've been able to reach is the 160.43 ft.. I will remeasure and update again sometime. Maybe some branch will move or fall out of the way. So far I've measured 3 times and had assistance from a 2nd person who observed.
Why was "Humboldt Honey" named Humboldt Honey?
It's a simple connect-the-dots thing related to scouting portraiture locations, plus the woman shown in the image to the right. She was photographed the day after the discovery in Eureka as well as redwood forest near this bigleaf maple.
The photo below shows trunk, leaf and laser aimed to the top. The 149.98 is just the amount of trunk above the laser. Once the trunk below the laser was added, the total was 157.80 ft..
In November, 2012, I returned when golden autumn leaf color provided a better opportunity to look for a taller stem or branch. This trip confirmed that the tallest part of this maple was the part measured during the earlier October visit.
I also found a 143 ft. maple during the November, 2012 trip. And that not more than two miles away. Also along Avenue of the Giants. The next tallest I'm aware of in the Coast Redwood parks is about 130 ft., across the Avenue of the Giants from Founders Grove.
Out of curiosity, I checked out the flat at the bottom of the trail in Redwood National Park. There's a big group of large Bigleaf Maples there. The area was suggested by Michael Taylor, as having large maples. Most were only 80 to 100 ft.. Big, but not extremely tall. For other tallest finds, take a moment to read other discoveries.